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With the deadline to get the roster down to 75 players looming this afternoon, the Bears made five transactions to reach the mandatory roster limit today. They made the bulk of their cuts on Sunday, which I already covered.
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Today was more roster management then outright releases with the Bears shuffling players with four of the five players moved with some sort of injury designation. The expected moves were C Hroniss Grasu (ACL) and QB Connor Shaw (broken leg) being moved to the injured reserve effectively ending their seasons.
That got the Bears down to 78 players but they still needed to make three more roster moves. Here is a break down of the players let go before the deadline today:
LB Jarrett Grace: The former Notre Dame linebacker was a long shot to make the team anyway after being added to the roster after a rookie mini-camp. Grace broke his leg in 2014 and wasn't fully recovered for most of 2015. and spent the year as a backup. By the time of his pro day Grace was close to 100% and put up a solid 4.75 40-time and 26 reps of 225 pounds on the bench.
The Bears have so much depth at inside linebacker that Grace's chances of making the final roster were slim to none. Hopefully for Grace, he impressed enough on special teams to get a shot with another organization.
OLB Roy Robertson-Harris : An impressive physical specimen (6'7, 255) who the Bears liked enough to bring in for two pre-draft workouts. I'm surprised to see Robertson-Harris already off the roster considering his significant upside as an edge rusher. He posted a 35″ vertical, 9'11" broad jump, 4.7 40-time, 23 bench reps of 225 pounds during his private workout with the Bears, and looked fluid in both pass rush and short coverage drills during his tryout.
Robertson-Harris is technically still on the roster, but on the little used Reserve / Non-Football Illness list. I'm not sure of the specifics of his "illness", it may just be a way to keep Robertson-Harris around a little longer without risking losing him to another team.
ILB Lamin Barrow: The biggest surprise on the list in my opinion as Barrow played very well in the first two preseason games and was a 5th round pick by the Broncos in 2014. Barrow played 16 games as a rookie under John Fox with one start. The Bears moved quickly to sign Barrow when he was moved to the practice squad by the Broncos last year and he saw significant snaps on both defense and special teams.
Barrow was waived with an injury designation (foot) and his injury may be bad enough that the Bears don't think he can contribute much on special teams this year. The Bears are very deep at inside linebacker but Barrow looked like he had the speed to cover and the range to be a factor against the run. I'm not sure how serious his foot injury is, but I wouldn't be surprised if the Bears find a way to keep Barrow around long-term.
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